“Sometimes life calls you to be the teacher, other times the student – both being just as important as the other.” – Anonymous
I am writing this blog post one week after squeezing all of my belongings into two 50lb pieces of luggage and moving from Los Angeles, CA to Madrid, Spain. You’ve seen this before – the fed up corporate employee who quits his/her job to teach English abroad… yes, that’s me. 🙂
The irony is that although I moved here to be a ‘teacher,’ I am the one doing most of the learning. And one thing I’ve learned this week is that the world of teachers and corporate employees orbit on two completely opposite spectrums, and I am not just talking about salary here…
Me at my corporate job: spend the majority of my day glued to my desk and laptop screen, engage in a few “How was your weekend?” conversations with my co-workers while in the office pantry, complete my ‘on-priority’ tasks, and leave – no questions asked.
Me at my teaching job: As soon as that 9 am morning bell rings, I am put on center stage and everything from what I say, what I wear, what I eat, etc. is being evaluated by my students.
I must admit, this newfound spotlight has inspired me to smile brighter, stand straighter, speak more enthusiastically, take smaller bites… but God has shown me that my light shouldn’t burn brighter just up until that school bell rings because the Bible says,
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. -Matthew 5:16, NIV
It doesn’t say let your light shine when others are watching, when you want someone to like you, during an interview, when you feel like a million bucks. No. Let your light shine. Continuously.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. -Psalm 96:2, NIV
But if you’re reading this and you just so happen to say, “Umm… HUMAN!” You might stop me here to ask,
… “But what do we do on the days that aren’t dipped in glitter and gold?
… Like when we wake up ‘on the wrong side of the bed,’
…. When we find out the guy we’ve invested 2 years of our time has been seeing someone else,
… When we follow up with the recruiter for a job we had our heart set on only to find out they chose a different candidate,
… Or when a loved one hurts us or becomes terminally ill?”
God uses these kinds of days to test and see if we will succumb to the first signs of a storm or stick to His truth, press into Him, and remain joyfully obedient.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” -1 Peter 4:12-13, NIV
Now we can all agree that some days are easier than others to keep our heads high and rejoice. This is OK! But we cannot allow circumstance, situation, feeling, or thought give us an excuse to play victim. To walk around with our heads down, dim our light, get “snappy” with others, shrivel up behind Netflix and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s…
Why? Because we are not of this world, and therefore we can’t be moved by it.
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. -John 15:19
Meaning no matter how massive your headache is, who rubs you the wrong way, what crisis happens at work, how much your boss criticizes you, the self-defeating thought that crosses your mind – you must become aware that it’s borne of this world and therefore has no dominion over you. Then, rise above and respond to it with grace because God tells us,
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” -1 Peter 2:12
So, bringing everything together:
Living as God’s witness has a “no days off” policy. The camera is always rolling, therefore, we should do our best to navigate our days in ways that bring glory to God.
On the days when something/someone/some thought comes to steal your joy, press into God, remain firm in the truth spoken to you in the Bible, and hold onto His image of you.
Be joyful! How awesome is it to know that in Christ we are FREE- not victim, but victors!!! Chosen. Royal. And not subject to but instead above anything this world tries to throw at us.
I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” -Psalm 16:8
REPEAT THIS PRAYER: God, thank you for today. For my health, safety, financial security, family, and for all the blessings and favor that you have bestowed upon my life. For bringing me here to this point in my life. I pray that you make me more like you, and chisel away at anything that isn’t of you. So that no matter which way my world spins, what season I am in, what I wake up feeling or thinking- that I would remain firm in the truth written for me in the Bible.
Help me to keep pressing in when I don’t feel like pressing in. Tell me what to pray for when I don’t know what to pray for, which Bible chapter to turn to when I don’t know where to turn to. Send me your Holy Spirit to comfort me to give me divine revitalization of mind, body, and spirit. Renew my joy, energy, wisdom, and power.
Remind me that I am beautiful, adored, and your warrior princess. I am Chosen. Reinstill the vision you have for me within me, and let me meditate upon it day and night. Remind me that when it all comes down to it, I am here to be your vessel, to fulfill the purpose you have for me and spread your light so that others may see my life, my character, and say, “Wow I need to know the God she serves!”
I love you, Lord. Please bless this day, and have your hand upon everything in it – from who I meet, what I eat, what I say, and what I do. Thank you, Lord. Amen.
In the case that you find yourself fully immersed in a “meh” kind of day, I have included some helpful sermons/worship songs to meditate on until whatever “it” is that’s bothering you passes:
About Grace: Grace Diaz is a 24-year-old woman just trying to go through this simply complicated life with her gaze focused entirely on God while encouraging other twenty-somethings to do the same. Check her out by using her links below: